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Matchups Matter: Players To Trade For And Trade Away

Do you know the one thing that I say over and over when it comes to fantasy football? Projections don’t matter.

Let me explain. So many of the people I play fantasy football with freak out because they’re projected to lose their game, so they put in the players that are projected the most points.

While projections can help you make lineup decisions (especially if a player is projected zero points), there’s something that can help you even more: matchups.

If you want to take your fantasy football game to the next level, study your players’ matchups. Are they playing a team that’s amazing against the run? Then maybe you should consider benching them. This obviously takes more work than just editing your lineup to get the most projected points, but it’s worth it.

Not only can matchups help you decide on who to start and sit, but they can also help you figure out who to trade for and who to trade away. With trade deadlines swiftly approaching (the deadline in some of my leagues is tomorrow), now is the time to see if you need to make any last minute trades to enhance your team.

Another big thing to consider when looking to make a trade is the fantasy playoff schedule. Look ahead at weeks 14 – 17 and see what team the person you’re trying to trade away or trade for will be playing.

With that in mind, here are some last minute players to try and trade for, and some that you may want to trade away.


QB: Jameis Winston If you’re struggling at QB and are looking for a permanent solution, think about Winston. His fantasy playoff schedule is pretty great: he plays the Saints twice, the Panthers, and then the Cowboys. All three of these matchups are good, if not great, with the toughest one being the Panthers, who are the 12th highest scoring defense with 64 overall points so far.

Winston has thrown at least one touchdown in every game but one this year (Week 4 vs. the Broncos), and since his bye week he’s had at least 17.4 fantasy points per game.

RB: Lamar Miller Miller’s playoff schedule is also very favorable. He plays the Titans, Bengals, Jaguars, and Colts. The Colts are 23rd against the run, and Miller’s best game this year was against the Colts (29.8 points in Week 6). In their last six games, the Bengals have given up six rushing touchdowns. The Jaguars give up an average of 161 yards and a touchdown per game when team rush 30 or more times against them, and the Texans are 7th in the league in rush attempts, averaging 28.4 attempts a game.

Need more reasons to try and get Miller? He’s one of eight players in the NFL that averages at least 21 touches per game, and he has double digit fantasy points in six of his 10 games this year. Get Miller.

WR: Brandin Cooks With at least 66 receiving yards or a touchdown in all but one game since his Week 5 bye, Cooks is currently 8th in fantasy points scored for receivers, and has one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league throwing to him.

He also has some pretty good matchups during the fantasy playoffs. In Weeks 14 and 16, he plays the Buccaneers, who are ranked 27th against the pass and have given up five receiving touchdowns in the last four games. Then he plays Arizona, which isn’t ideal, but you still will probably start him. After that he gets the Falcons in Week 17, who are ranked 28th against the pass. They’ve given up seven receiving touchdowns in the last three games, and have allowed more than 225 receiving yard in three out of their last four games.

TE: Zach Ertz As long as Wentz doesn’t continue to be terrible, Ertz should thrive during the fantasy playoffs. He plays the Cowboys (20th against tight ends), Giants (16th against tight ends), Redskins (24th against tight ends, and have allowed 77 yards and a touchdown in the last three games to tight ends), and the Ravens.

Ertz had a season high 11 targets against the Seahawks this past Sunday, and has 20 receptions, 187 yards, and a touchdown in the last three games. In those three games, he’s averaging 8.2 fantasy points per game, and if he averaged that for the season, that would rank him as the 4th best tight end.


QB: Marcus Mariota Even though Mariota is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league at the moment, he has a brutal schedule to close out the season. In Week 14, he goes against the Broncos, the 2nd best team against the pass. Then he plays the Chiefs (16th against the pass), the Jaguars (5th against the pass), and the Texans (4th against the pass). Going against three teams in the top 10 that allow the fewest passing yards is scary, and I would not be starting him if I had him. Sell him now while he’s high and mighty.

RB: Phat Rob, R. Kelley, or Rob Kelley (whatever you want to call him) With 137 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers, Kelley exploded and put himself on the permanent RB2 map every week. If you started him, he got you more than 30 points. While I’m grateful that he just made Matt Jones extinct, I don’t think he is ever going to get near that number again. It may sound crazy to trade him away, but here’s why you should do it: schedule, schedule, schedule.

His playoff schedule is rough. For the playoffs, he gets the Eagles (19th against the run), Panthers (2nd against the run), Bears (11th against the run), and Giants (7th against the run). That’s definitely not ideal, and it’s hard to trust him when you can’t afford to lose. Kelley is a classic sell-high, so test the waters and see what you can get for him.

WR: Allen Robinson Whether you’ve realized it or not, Robinson has been heating up the past few weeks. He has a touchdown in the past three games, and has shown flashes of his former self. Now is definitely a good time to try and trade him away.

In the first two weeks of the playoffs, he gets the Vikings (5th against wide receivers) and the Texans (3rd against wide receivers). I wouldn’t start him in either of those games. After that it eases up, and he gets the Titans (32nd aka last against wide receivers) and the Colts (30th against wide receivers).

While the last two games are good matchups, I wouldn’t rely on Robinson. Another big part of the problem is Blake Bortles, and his ability to get Robinson the ball. I would trade Robinson while I could.

Are there any other players you are thinking of trading for or trading away? Who are they? Leave a comment and let us know, or tweet at us. For more fantasy advice, check out our starts and sits, weekly player rankings, and our weekly podcast.

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